Instant message service Meebo is rolling out new features for the toolbar it runs on partner sites, including a simple way to share links with the people you’re IMing to. As other companies, like Facebook and Twitter, help make real-time information sharing a mainstream activity, this is Meebo’s way of getting in on the action.
You can see the new features in action on mom site CafeMom, which is launching with Meebo today. Open the lower right-hand tab of the toolbar, see which CafeMom friends are online, select a person, then click on them to open up a new chat window on the toolbar. In the left-hand corner, select the “share” button to share the page you’re reading. Then click on a person’s name and send them the link and the chat window. When you click on the share button, you also see a menu option including icons for Facebook, Twitter or email. Click on any of those buttons and you can post it on your Facebook account, tweet it on Twitter or email it to your friends. The toolbar previously had a sharing feature, but it was buried in the chat menu.
Also somewhat new today — you can see your list of contacts for various other social networks that you have signed into through Meebo, including Gtalk, AOL, Facebook and MySpace. So someone can be on Facebook using Facebook chat, and you could use the Meebo toolbar to send them a link from CafeMom. This is also not entirely new. Meebo started years ago as a web site that let you aggregate multiple IM accounts on one page. Its toolbar, introduced last year, has been a way for it to push that service to other sites. Partner sites can let friends chat with friends through Meebo, and include information like status update notifications within the toolbar IM using Meebo’s application programming interface.
So far, Meebo has announced 75 partner sites for the toolbar, and 32 have already launched with it — including big sites like teen social network MyYearbook in April. The result has been lots of new users: four million in March, 10 million in April and 15 million in May, according to chief executive Seth Sternberg. One out of five people on partner sites sends at least one IM from the bar every day, and of those active people, the average person averages 50 IMs per day.
The toolbar is also part of Meebo’s plan for becoming a big business. It has been testing interactive advertising that runs within the toolbar between the share and chat buttons. These ads, it says, get exceptionally high click-through rates and attention from users.
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